Chapter 14 - The Bikini Search
I am going to kill Ella.
Advice? She wants that butthead's advice on what I'm gonna wear to the beach this weekend? Yeah right.
This is just another one of her schemes to get us together. Her cupid-juices got excited again. Ugh.
Class ended half an hour ago. I decided to go to the council room to fix a few things and as expected, Daniel followed me again like a lost puppy.
He entered the room with me even when he was told a few days ago that non-council members weren't allowed to go in.
There was nobody but us as of the moment so I guess I'll let it slide just this once.
In the middle of arranging the books in their rightful shelves, I remembered what we were doing later. I was excited to go to the beach, but the shopping part... Not that much.
Why does he have to come along? Can't we just leave him here? That Ella, really.
I watched Daniel from the corner of my eye and noticed that he was reading something in his phone again.
What is up with him? I don't get why I feel so uneasy being around him. And yet, I want to know more about him. Was I always this curious about people?
His eyes slowly left his screen and met mine. He was looking at me with those doe-like eyes again, and I panicked. I looked away quickly like I got caught or something.
What? What? Why did I panic? I didn't do anything wrong for me to act this way.
"You like that guy?"
I shook my head when Kristopher's question from earlier fleeted in my mind. What is this? Why am I feeling guilty? I didn't do anything wrong. I was just being honest. Why am I so bothered? Did I always overthink things like this?
Am I suppressing myself?
I stopped. What?
"Are you done yet?" He asked, making me jump a bit. Why am I so nervous?
"Almost." I replied.
Damn it Kristina. Snap out of it.
Oh my gosh, oh my gosh, oh my gosh.
I'm so excited my feet won't stop tingling!
I bid my friends goodbye after a small gossip-session and then I returned to our classroom to get my things. Tina must be done checking some stuff in the council room by now. I should go pick her up.
I sat on my desk as I arranged the contents of my bag. I got so excited earlier that I just stuffed all my things inside so it's in a huge mess right now.
Ah, I gotta check my budget. How much should I spend later? I have to save up for my sister's birthday in a few months.
After counting what's left in my wallet, my eyes landed on Tina's desk. I sighed.
She deserves a break from all her presidential duties. I don't know how she kept up with her high grades 'til now. She's an amazing girl, but she rarely goes out to have any fun at all.
Since Daniel arrived, I've seen him as an opportunity for my best friend to let loose and be happy. I don't quite get it myself, but I ship them both so much.
Their childhood is like a drama series, seriously. They have to get together for real, pushing that arranged marriage thing aside. I still don't know if that was serious or not.
Maybe I'm butting in too much. But still. They won't make any progress by themselves. Tina's so stubborn. And Daniel's in denial. They need a huge push.
But does Tina even like him? Maybe she just gets flustered from him since she has no experience with guys treating her like that. I'm not sure. But I'm quite positive Daniel likes her. I know it. I just know it.
But Tina... I sighed heavily.
Is my best friend really that dense? Or is she ignoring her own feelings? Ugh. If only she talked to me about these things. It'll be a while before she opens up this kind of topic, knowing her personality.
"You're still here?" A familiar voice jolted me from my thoughts.
I swallowed hard when I recognized who that voice belonged to. Shit. Taking a deep breath, I calmed myself down before I looked at him.
"Yup," I replied like my usual cheery self. "You? What're you still doing here?"
Sean nodded quietly before picking up something under his desk. He was usually noisy around people, but when it's just us, he's unbelievably quiet. And tense.
"I forgot something." He said. "I got it now."
As if it wasn't awkward between us already, the awkwardness grew bigger ever since the festival where we were paired together. Some boys decided to have fun and signed us up as a pair without our knowledge.
They had no idea about our history, and how their little prank affected us. I took it maturely. Kinda.
He jokes around a lot so people won't notice what was really going on, but I think he was more bothered about it than I was.
I stifled my mock laughter. I have no right to complain. I signed Tina and Daniel up as a pair without their knowledge too. I'm just the same.
I nodded when I saw him putting something inside his pocket. Why isn't he leaving yet?
He still can't look at me. Even after all these years.
"You going home after this?" He asked, forcing a conversation in this heavy atmosphere. I discreetly took another deep breath.
He didn't have to do this. He didn't have to start pretending like nothing ever happened.
"Nah," I said with a smile despite my nagging thoughts. "I'm going to the mall with some friends. You?"
This exchange of pointless questions and answers is tiring. I feel like I'm running out of air.
"Oh, okay. Um, yeah, I'm going with some friends later too." Sean said quietly. A few heavy seconds passed.
I wish he'd just leave already.
His face looked like he wanted to say something else and not just stalling words or pointless conversations out of mere courtesy.
But after what seemed like an internal debate, he made up his mind. And I guess he made the right choice for us at the moment.
"Well," he looked at me with a small smile. I forced a smile in return.
I know it's killing him too.
"See you later."
I nodded again, keeping up the smile on my face. This is exhausting.
I ran in full speed towards the council room after Sean left. I needed to do something. I needed an excuse to be this out of breath before I meet with them.
Don't think about him.
Think about the shopping trip later. Think about how Daniel and Tina's relationship will progress after it. Think about your best friend being happy with the boy she was in love with when she was a little girl. Think about what you're gonna do to help her get those feelings back, if those feelings ever left.
When I reached my destination, I barged in the room with a huge grin. Tina was currently arguing with him about some small thing again and when they noticed my loud entrance, they stopped and stared at me.
Gathering my energy, I laughed all my heavy feelings out. I laughed my heavy heart out through a loud and cheery voice that no one will ever notice. At least, not anyone who cared. "Tina! Daniel! You guys ready?"
Tina's nose twitched from irritation before she scoffed at Daniel. "Can't we just leave him here?"
I giggled as I approached them, my knees a bit tremulous. "Of course not. Don't leave your very important responsibility behind, Miss President."
I hope my voice didn't tremble.
Before she grabbed her bag, her already knitted brows emphasized as she looked at me.
"What?" I asked, feeling nervous all of a sudden.
"Are you okay?" She asked, a look of concern washed over irritated one. My heart jumped.
Again, she notices when something's up with me, but chooses not to ask about it in detail out of respect. She just patiently waits until I tell her myself, and I always loved her for that.
I'll tell her about it when I'm ready.
I grinned widely. "Of course! I'm just so excited!"
Despite her feelings of objection about bringing Daniel along, she sent me an encouraging smile, as if telling me it was gonna be alright even without knowing what it was.
I smiled again, this time for real. We were having two conversations. The first one where Daniel could hear, and the other, where only my best friend and I could understand.
"Let's go." She said, rolling her eyes at Daniel. I excitedly linked my arm around hers. Ah, I feel like my energy's back in full.
The butthead was generous enough to drive us to the mall. We waited for a bit since he parked his car outside the school gates because of Kristopher's arrival earlier. Ella was too excited to ride with us.
Too bad for her, because Daniel and I were arguing the whole trip to the mall. The traffic didn't help. He kept telling me to ride in the front seat so he won't look like a chauffeur or something. Well I didn't want to.
I bet he just wants me to sit in front with him so he can make fun of me like the usual.
He didn't have to sulk about it.
When we arrived at the mall's parking lot, Ella jumped out of the car and quickly interlinked our arms together. I think she's pretty excited, but I'm getting the feeling like she's forcing herself to be her normal self.
I don't get it either.
Half an hour passed since we arrived in the women's department and started choosing swimsuits. I was uneasy of course. And Ella.
"Tina!" She yelled from a distance. People were starting to stare at us. I hid my face behind the pile of swimsuits she chose for me. "Over here! I found a good one!"
"Keep your voice down," I tried to hush her, but it was a pointless attempt. Daniel was quietly following behind me, curiously looking at some of the swimsuits along the way.
Doesn't he feel embarrassed being with us here in the women's department? Don't guys usually wait meters away from this cursed part of the mall?
Ella shoved a tiny black bikini right in front of my face. I gasped and threw it on the floor like it was viral.
The persistent saleslady who welcomed us earlier picked it up and returned it to Ella. Seriously, I hope she just lets us choose in peace and help us only when she's called.
I know she's just doing her job but still. She has to consider the fact that some buyers don't feel comfortable picking stuff with them around. Especially me, since I get so self-conscious about the items I choose.
"Why not?" My best friend laughed, showing me the tiny piece of cloth again. I wish I can yell at her to put it back or burn it or something.
"It exposes a bit... too much skin."
She pouted. "So? You have a great body. It'll be a waste if you don't show it off and make other girls jealous. Don't you think so, Daniel?"
My cheeks flushed. She didn't have to ask for his opinion regarding my body. He's seen enough of it already!
I turned my head to see his reaction and I fumed when I noticed him looking at me up and down, and then teasingly nodding his head in approval.
I attempted to kick him on the leg but it was a weak attack since if I moved around too much, the pile of swimsuits will fall off from my arms, and I don't want to bear the humiliation of picking them up one by one. So basically, the attack was a failure.
The bastard just snickered.
"Would you like a basket?" The saleslady offered. I nodded before dropping all of the swimsuits in it. Thank goodness.
"How about this one?" Ella smiled expectantly at Daniel. She was currently showing us another tiny bikini, this time red. Seriously, what was that thing supposed to cover?
I groaned loudly. "Can I pick my swimsuit? Please?"
"No!" She quickly replied. I pouted. "You have horrible, horrible taste. And if you pick it yourself, no doubt you'll look like a nun in the beach. Just leave it to your best friend, okay?"
"Oh! Here's a cute one!" She said, ignoring me on purpose just now as she threw more swimsuits in the basket. Cry. I wanna cry.
I wanted to be more rebellious to save myself from shame and disaster but after seeing Ella's face earlier, I knew something was up. I don't know how to comfort her at all, so today, I'll just let her do what she wants.
I always let her do what she wants. I don't have any power over her.
"What about you?" I asked. She looked at me with a huge smile on her face. She looked so excited, it was just hard to refuse her.
"Don't worry, we'll try these swimsuits on together! It'll be fun! And you know what the best part is?"
She grinned silly as she let a few seconds of suspense pass. I didn't notice I was holding my breath. Oh God, please don't let her think of something crazy again.
She glanced at Daniel behind us. "Daniel here will be the judge."
My heart stopped. I think my brain stopped functioning as well.
"What-what? What?" I stammered. "Why does he have to see us wear these stuff?!"
"Why not?" She laughed maliciously. "He's seen you wear nothing before."
"ELLA!" I complained, stomping my foot. Oh God I want to hide in a hole!
The saleslady hid a chuckle and my cheeks just heated up to its darkest color. Daniel was right behind us, listening the whole time. I'm gonna die of embarrassment!
Anybody could tell she was enjoying this. Daniel was enjoying this. Even the saleslady was enjoying this!
"Hey Daniel," Ella called him. He stepped forward as she showed him two sets of bikinis. The one in her left hand had a clean white color with slight frills in the middle, and the one in her right hand was a cyan-colored one with a lot of ribbons. "For Tina. Which one do you prefer?"
"Ella!" I tried swinging the basket to hit her thigh, but she dodged just in time, not even sparing me a glance.
"None." He replied, knitting his brows at the sight of those two horrid bikinis. It was a rare occasion, but I agreed with them. They were horrible.
Ella nodded and threw them away and started searching for more. The saleslady patiently picked up all the bikinis landing on the floor.
"Then what type of swimsuit do you think Tina looks best in?" She asked.
Is she seriously asking him that?!
"One where the fabric used is invisible or if possible nonexistent please." He simply said.
I stifled a huge scream. I tried to kick him again and this time succeeded. It wasn't as forceful as I had intended, but it was fine since he started hopping in one leg. Served him right for being a pervert.
Ella just laughed joyfully as she threw more swimsuits to choose from in the basket. After a little while, she decided to end her search.
She took my hand and pulled me to where one of the vacant dressing rooms were. "C'mon! Let's try them all!"
I whimpered to myself as I let her drag me along. I didn't mind trying them out, but I did mind Daniel seeing us in these things. I don't understand myself for being partly excited and nervous about it.
Ella and I shared the same dressing room. It was big enough to fit the both of us. We turned around from each other to start changing.
She was humming in excitement, I was trying my best not to lose my balance since my whole body was trembling.
"You done?" She asked. I sighed.
"We turn around in three, two, one..."
After her little countdown, we turned around at the same time. My eyes widened at Ella's swimsuit. She looked amazing in it. Seeing her... seeing that... made me feel a bit conscious about myself again.
"Oh my God my best friend is so hot." Ella sighed, dramatically fanning her face. I snorted while rolling my eyes.
"See for yourself," she grabbed me by the shoulders and made me look at my reflection. I gulped when I saw myself in that tiny black bikini. I crouched down and attempted to hide my skin. "You look like a supermodel!"
"I look like a porn star!" I complained. Then I sent her a glare. Her bikini was way more decent than mine. Why did I try this on first? Was I just genuinely curious?
"How would you know," she snorted. "But I agree, it's too tiny. You look so provocative right now. I think I'm getting a hard on."
"Ella that is so not funny." I groaned. She snickered.
"Wanna ask for Daniel's opinion?"
She giggled before taking her phone. "Alright fine, we'll try another one. But let's take a selfie first and compare all the swimsuits later."
It took us a few minutes before we got a decent shot. If decent is even the right word for it.
I tried on another piece, and it covered more skin compared to the first one I tried on. I liked the color but I still felt like it wasn't the one. Without warning, I heard a click. Ella took a picture of my reflection!
"Oh damn," she mumbled. "Forgot to turn the sound off."
She laughed heartily before critically observing the thing I was wearing. It took about five seconds before she shook her head. "Nope. Try on another."
I sighed heavily.
"Is this even allowed?" I said, changing the topic and at the same time trying another swimsuit. "Isn't trying these things on unhygienic? What if people with contagious diseases wore these stuff before us?"
"Relax," Ella laughed. "There's some kind of plastic or tape in the inner parts of the swimsuits so our skin won't touch the cloth directly. Plus, they change the tape every time people try them on before they put it back in display. It's their policy."
I slowly nodded, a bit relieved after hearing that.
After trying out all of the swimsuits, I finally picked one.
Ella didn't like it since it covered most of my chest area and exposed just a tiny bit of my stomach, but I begged her and told her I was the one paying for it anyway. She reluctantly agreed.
I jumped for joy in my head. Now I can enjoy the beach without feeling so conscious about my body.
"Why are you so self-conscious anyway," she mumbled. We were currently changing back to our regular clothes. Daniel didn't get to see us wear these stuff. Yes. "You have an amazing body. You could be a Victoria's Secret model if you were a bit taller. You have all the right curves in all the right places and your bust and butt are--"
"Shut it." I said. She giggled.
"I'm going out first. Gonna return some of the swimsuits."
She left the dressing room while I was still in the middle of changing. I was honestly satisfied. Maybe she got so absorbed in trying out the swimsuits that she forgot about her little scheme of making Daniel the judge.
I looked at the piece I chose and smiled. This is fine. I can't wait to go to the beach.
I was on the process of putting my skirt on first before my upper uniform when I heard a knock on the door.
Thinking the door was locked, I didn't pay any mind to it. Only my left leg was in the skirt when the door suddenly opened, revealing no ther than the king of butts.
When he saw me in that state, his eyes widened in surprise. I was quick to react. I kicked the door close, probably hitting his face in the process but who cared? He caught me in so little clothes again!
"What are you doing?!" I yelled from inside. I heard a small groan outside. I figured he really did hit his face when I forcefully shut the door. Good.
"Ella said you needed help choosing between two swimsuits and told me to go here."
I covered my face. That Ella! I can't even look at myself in the mirror right now.
He saw me in my underwear. He saw my matching strawberry-print underwear oh, God.
This is even more humiliating than when he saw me naked.
I quickly put on my clothes, stifling my screams of humiliation. "You have a very bad habit of entering rooms without being allowed to go in yet!"
"Well you have a very bad habit of not locking doors."
"Stop using that excuse, it's getting old!" I muttered.
"By the way," he said, much to my irritation. I was already done changing. I was just tying my hair up since it got loose after trying on a lot of swimsuits. "Was that also a bikini you were wearing when I came in?"
I winced. "Can't you just shut up and wait until I get out?"
I heard him chuckle.
"If it was, it was pretty lame." He snorted. "Strawberry-prints, seriously."
I kicked the door open, attempting to hit him again but unfortunately, he was prepared and stood far away from the door. Why are my opponents always prepared? Am I that readable? Damn it all.
He had this smug grin in his face when I came out. I felt like my eyes were gonna rot from glaring at him this much.
"Well aren't you happy." I hissed. He closed his eyes as he nodded his head slowly and mockingly.
I scoffed before I stomped away from him and towards Ella. She was waiting outside and she looked like she was ready to sprint for her life.
Too bad, because I caught her and the worst thing I could do to her was squeeze her to suffocation. I'm too soft on her for my own good.
"I'm sorry!" She laughed as she said this, losing the energy to escape from my clutches. "I couldn't resist!"
"You're horrible!" I complained again. "Horrible!"
She laughed so hard she became mute. I was afraid I was gonna accidentally kill her so I loosened my grip. She smiled at me cheekily. "You know you love me."
Honestly. The only real love-hate relationship that exists in this world is between married couples, parent-children, and best friends.
After that, we went to the counter to pay for our swimsuits. There were about three people in front of me in the line. Ella gave me money so I'll be in charge of paying for our stuff while she looks around a bit.
When I was next in line, Daniel jogged towards me and gave me three DVDs. I glared at him as he handed them to me. "I'll pay you later."
"Whatever." I said, childishly.
I put the swimsuits and his DVDs on the counter and as the cashier punched the items, she stared at me questionably. I was staring at the total amount displayed on top of the cash register, I didn't notice she'd stopped.
"Miss, how old are you? May I see some ID?"
"What?" I asked, confused. When I saw her holding up the DVDs Daniel handed to me, my jaw hit the floor. The people behind me snickered and an old lady passing by shook her head and made a tsk sound.
The DVDs that sick bastard gave me were pornos.
I am going to destroy him.
I quickly apologized and told her it was just a stupid prank from my friend but she hardly looked like she believed me. I can't believe I'm still alive after all this mortification in just one day.
After I finished paying, I quickly left the counter, the people behind me still staring and laughing.
I wonder where my charming fiancé is. Because I'm going to find him and skin him alive and cut his genitals and hang them in my room-- that sick hellish bastard I'm forced to look after. Damn it just damn it all.
I found him snickering behind the mannequins. When he saw the murderous look in my eyes, he mouthed an 'uh-oh' and ran away, sensing his life in danger.
The next twenty minutes were spent with me chasing after him all over the place. We could've done it all day if not for the guard stopping us and scolding us.
We were asked to leave the department store and for shame, we left with our heads down. A lot of people stared. Ella arrived not so long after. She looked like she was gonna burst into a fit of laughter.
"You two are adorable."
We decided to take a little break before going home by stopping by a small coffee shop. After ordering some drinks, we chose a table at the corner of the shop where there were less people around for some privacy.
When Ella sat down, she sighed contentedly as if she just achieved a long-term goal.
Daniel sat in front of me and I can't help but glare at him. He was trying his best not to break out in a mischievous grin so I won't get motivated to commit a lot of sins right now.
"Oh right," Ella sat right up, taking her phone off her pocket. "Daniel, take a look at this."
"Ooh," I heard him say.
Curious, I moved my seat closer to them and glanced at her phone. "What is it?"
When I saw the pictures, my eyes widened and I immediately tried to grab the phone, but Ella hid it behind her back before I could do so. Those were the pictures she took of me when I was trying out those swimsuits!
Oh my gosh what if she secretly took ones where I was stark naked?! I just know that butthead would be so delighted!
"ELLA!" I yelled, seriously getting pissed now. She giggled and hid her phone.
"Sorry, sorry! I just wanted to show you off!"
I whined and glared at Daniel for looking at them. He's just as guilty. I'm powerless when it comes to these two. I hate it.
I didn't want to cause a scene so I just decided to be quiet and ignore them and hope they feel bad for what they've done. I hope they feel very very bad about themselves.
"Isn't my best friend sexy?" Ella teasingly asked Daniel, wagging her eyebrows at that. The corner of the butthead's lip twitched up as he looked at me.
I kicked them both from under the table but they just laughed at my reaction. And as perfect as timings always were, the lady called our names. I was still sulking to get our drinks so Daniel got them for us instead.
After finishing our drinks without me uttering a word to the traitors, we left the coffee shop and walked around the mall with no certain destination.
"So where do we go next?" Ella asked.
"A vase shop." I replied sourly.
She looked confused but a bit excited that I finally spoke to her. "What for?"
I looked at her and then at Daniel with dead eyes. "To store your ashes in."
Ella winced a bit before laughing and wrapping her arms around my shoulders. "You're still mad? Aw, I'm sorry. But don't worry, what happened today will be among the three of us only. I swear."
"Whatever." I mumbled.
"I'll delete them all, okay? Don't be mad. C'mon, I'm sorry." Ella pleaded, hugging me tighter. I wasn't paying attention to her. That's right, she should apologize some more. She should buy me food.
She showed me her phone and I saw that there was this confirmation box that asked if she was sure to delete the selected items. She pressed yes and after a few seconds they were all gone. Except for the ones where the two of us were together.
She looked at me with a bright smile. "There. Forgive me? Please? Please?"
I was trying to stay mad at her but I couldn't help the smile forcing its way to my mouth. I don't know. Ugh. I rolled my eyes at her and squeezed her back. "Whatever. He still saw it."
She giggled, knowing I already forgave her despite my choice of words. I heard Daniel snorting behind us but I just ignored him. Jerk. Dumbbutt. Butthole. Butthead.
On our way back to the parking lot, we bumped into a certain group of boys from our class. They were so loud and the people around them were starting to get bothered too. I raised a brow at them, and when they noticed my presence, they were frozen stiff, like criminals caught in the act.
I sent them a small glare but they avoided my eyes and looked everywhere but me. They even started laughing nervously. "Hah... Ha-ha. You have no power here, Miss President."
When I took a step forward, they all jumped from the shock. No power my butt.
"Hey Dan!" Sean jumped out from his petrified crowd of friends. It seemed like the others just noticed the fool behind us too, so they stared at him like he was their savior.
They were idiots for thinking he was gonna save their butts.
"Just lower your voices. You're bothering people," I sighed. I didn't have any right scolding them here, not when I was a part of the public disturbance earlier too for chasing after the king of butts.
I shivered. I don't know if I'll ever step into the women's department again.
"Oh!" One of the boys exclaimed. "Ella's here too!"
"You just noticed?" Ella replied sarcastically.
The boys laughed in unison before pushing Sean towards her. Before he could lose his balance and fall over her, I shielded my best friend.
He was about to hit his head on mine when a hand caught his forehead and stopped him from falling.
It all happened way too fast.
"I..." Sean looked like he panicked as he looked at me, and then at Ella. "I'm sorry!"
Daniel removed his hand from Sean's forehead. He quickly regained his balance and went back to his friends and smacked their heads one by one.
They looked like they were enjoying themselves, but I don't think they noticed the distressed look in their friend's face. Or maybe that's just me overanalyzing the situation again.
"Sorry again," he mumbled, not looking at us. "We're going now."
He pushed his friends away from us and they went ahead. I could still hear their voices complaining about his weird behavior and some of them were even teasing him.
That was surprising. I never saw Sean like that before.
"Seriously." I sighed again. I was about to make a comment about them when Ella tugged my arm. I turned around to look at her and I stopped.
She was smiling, but her hand was trembling.
"Can we go now?" She said. "I kinda... feel tired."
I didn't know what to do. Why was she being like that? Was it because the boys went too far this time? But this usually happens at school, and Ella's not the type of person to react like this over something like that.
I thought again, and came up with a theory.
Was it probably Sean?
She clutched my arm tighter, her smile wavering a bit, thinking I wouldn't notice. "Please?"
I held her arm and nodded. "Wanna hang out at my house for a bit?"
She laughed out loud, but it sounded like a release of breath that had been held. "Sure! This is gonna be so much fun!"
I smiled at her.
No it's not.